LETTER: Turbine setback regulations need to be updated

July 2nd, 2016 5:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

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SIR – I read with interest the letter from Nigel de Haas published on your letters page (June 18th) re wind turbine setback distance. I would like to make the following observations on this subject, which is currently affecting several areas of West Cork:

The current legislation apparently requires that wind turbines should be set back 500 metres from any dwelling house. However, this legislation was introduced in 2006 and applied to wind turbines that were a mere 40 feet in height, whereas the turbines currently threatening rural communities are 140 metres high. 

My point is that, even though the turbine size has increased by more than 11 times, the set back distance from neighbouring houses remains unchanged, a mere 500 metres, because the legislation has not been updated.

This loophole means that wind farm developers can site such monstrously-huge turbines, literally, looming over dwellings and homes with impunity, and one can only wonder why the legislation is not updated to accommodate the massive height increases in turbine size. Originally written in 2006 and not updated since, this setback distance is an out-of-date loophole, which is seemingly being exploited by entrepreneurs and business investors alike, enabling them to site such massive turbines to over-dominate dwelling houses, simply because the setback legislation has not been updated. 

Although this set back distance was originally created to protect residents threatened by wind turbines, it can only be seen as disturbingly out of date and would appear to need urgent attention, especially at a time when so many big wind farm projects are apparently being foisted onto rural communities who quite simply don’t want them there. 

I wonder if your readers would have views on this subject?

 I would also ask the Minister for the Environment for views and current update on this anomaly, as it is currently allowing these massive wind turbines to be sited far too close to human habitation and is clearly out of line with current legislation in Europe.

One wonders why this out of date legislation is not updated, as it clearly does not protect rural communities from the exploitation of this legal loophole by entrepreneurs and big business investors alike.

I await views and comments from your readers with interest.

Yours sincerely, 

Wendy Miles,



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